Growing number of American schools shifting to year-round calendars
Houston, TX – Year-round school calendars are becoming more popular in the U.S. and some states are even paying districts to make the shift.
Twenty-five states allow year-round schooling, according to the Education Commission of the States, and 11 of those have also encouraged it. The incentives come from states that wanted to address students who fell behind because of virtual learning during the pandemic.
School districts reported that COVID worsened summer learning loss and now educators are looking for ways to remedy that.
“We were looking primarily at our summer learning loss from the last few years. So, the research shows students were falling back two to three years in their math and reading,” said Adrian Bustillos, Chief Transformation Officer of Aldine Independent School District in Texas.
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Harris Elementary School in Texas’ Aldine Independent School District has switched to a modified school calendar. (Fox News/Joy Addison)
The number of schools opting for year-round calendars grew from 2.5% in 2018 to 4% in 2020, impacting over 3 million students.
Aldine ISD hopped on board recently after learning of the incentives offered by the state and decided to start slow by having four campuses add another 30 days to the school year.
“We wanted to make sure families understood there are three main pillars of the additional day school program: create enrichment for students, address accelerated math and reading, and create more planning time for teachers,” Bustillos said.
The number of schools across America opting for year-round calendars grew from 2.5% in 2018 to 4% in 2020. (Fox News/Joy Addison)
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Mississippi’s Corinth School District was the first in the state to make the shift eight years ago. Now, 28 other districts have switched.
Superintendent Lee Childress said his schools have seen results and he believes the modified calendar possibly lessened the impact of COVID learning loss in his district.
“If you have a kindergarten child that doesn’t know their colors or numbers, the best time to remediate them would be during that October session rather than falling behind during the school year,” Childress said.
Twenty-nine school districts in Mississippi have switched to the year-round school calendar. (Fox News/Joy Addison)
Bustillos echoed Childress’ statements and said the improvements in Aldine ISD are also noticeable.
“When we look at our data, there is essentially no learning loss. There is a slight dip, but nothing compared to years in the past,” Bustillos said.
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Both school districts said adjustments to the calendars include more days off to avoid student and teacher burnout and time for building maintenance that is typically completed over the summer.
Joy Addison joined Fox News in 2022 as a multimedia reporter in Houston.